Australia has a volunteering resource website GoVolunteer, govolunteer.com.au, an initiative of Volunteering Australia. It’s aim is to match people who are interested in volunteering with appropriate volunteering opportunities. The website uses a national database of volunteering opportunities. These are listed by Volunteering Involving Organisations, Volunteer Resource Centres and State Volunteer Centres.
In New Zealand, find your local Volunteer Centre through the website of Volunteering New Zealand (volunteeringnz.org.nz). Seventeen of these centres are dotted throughout the country to help people find suitable voluntary jobs with community organisations covering a range of causes. New volunteers are interviewed to determine their motivation and match them to an appropriate position.
Other organisations relying on volunteers include:
- Plunket, NZ’s largest provider of services for children under 5 and their families. Volunteers can assist with parenting education, toy libraries, parent support groups, play groups, child safety programs and fundraising. plunket.org.nz
- Youthline: Sadly, NZ has one of the highest rates of youth suicide in the world. Training is provided for volunteers who want to help answer calls and texts from troubled youth who contact Youthline’s helpline regarding a range of issues, big and small. Otherwise you can volunteer to assist in the organisation’s offices, talk to young people about the organisation or run events in your local community and schools to help out. youthline.co.nz
- IHC: This organisation supports the rights, inclusion and welfare of all people with intellectual disabilities. Volunteers can play an important part in people’s lives by joining one-to-one friendship or skilled-based programs. Training is provided. ihc.org.nz
- The Sydney Story Factory, which aims to change the lives of young people from marginalised backgrounds through creative writing and storytelling. It seeks volunteers who are kind, patient, have a sense of humour and a love of writing and reading. You don’t have to be a professional writer or teacher and you must apply for a Working With Children Check. Similar organisations in other locations are 100 Story Building (Melbourne), A Maze of Story (Perth), Story Island Project (Hobart) and Storyboard (Byron Bay). For the Sydney Story Factory, contact volunteer manager Craig New at [email protected]
- The Cancer Council is 96% funded by donations, which means it needs plenty of volunteer staff to make it work. Whether you would like to sell daffodils, pens and teddy bears one day a year on Daffodil Day (the fourth Friday of August each year), or help in administration or telephone counselling, the Cancer Council would love to hear from you. Check the site for the Cancer Council in your state, or go to cancer.org.au
- The RSPCA. This is another organisation that relies on volunteers, and if you love animals, it might be just right for you. Opportunities for voluntary work include caring for animals in shelters, assisting with administration or helping out in shopfronts. Find your local RSPCA by following the link on rspca.org.au
- Lifeline: If you’re willing to undergo a police check and pay something towards the cost of your training, becoming a telephone counsellor for Lifeline will give you a valuable new skill, increased self-awareness and the satisfaction of assisting people in crisis. (Each local centre sets its own cost.) Training takes place over several months. (See www.lifeline.org.au/about-lifeline/training/telephone-volunteer-training) Lifeline also needs volunteers to help raise funds and work in its retail outlets and administration.
This is just a start. When deciding if and where you would like to volunteer, consider your own interests and causes dear to your heart – refugees, surf lifesaving associations or overseas aid organisations, for example.